CryptoPunks: Collecting Digital Art

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First there were kitties, and now there’s punks! CryptoPunks is a market where people can buy uniquely designed cryptopunks using Ethereum as currency. Specifically, a cryptopunk is a 24×24 pixel art image that was generated algorithmically. When it first started, any one of them could be freely claimed as long as buyers had an Ethereum wallet. All 10,000 were quickly taken and now they must be purchased through the Ethereum marketplace. The rare alien and ape cryptopunks were one of the first to be claimed. Different colored backgrounds mean different statuses: blue backgrounds mean the punks have been claimed, red backgrounds mean they are available for sale, and purple backgrounds mean the punks have an active bid.

As of the time of this blog post, CryptoPunks has sold a total value of 655.67 ETH, or the current equivalent of $365,361.72 USD. The average sale price of cryptopunks is 0.39 ETH, $214.79 USD and has an estimated market cap at 2,485.29 ETH, $1,384,875.60 USD.


By buying a cryptopunk, the buyer owns the picture itself. Even if others download a version of the image, it’s only a copy. The buyer owns the original. Each image has a piece of computer code on the Ethereum platform so that ownership can be transferred. With the platform, people can exchange online goods without having to worry getting ripped off. Though there’s really nothing to display in real life, owners can proudly display their certificate of ownership of the cryptopunk online.

Unlike CryptoKitties, CryptoPunks does not really have a social game element to it. With the kitties, users can breed their kitties to create rare traits with high value and sell or bid them away in the market. But CryptoPunks only has it’s original 10,000 punks and there’s nothing anyone can do to increase or decrease the amount of punks. You’re really just in it for collecting. Matt Hall, one of the creators, stated that they wanted to create this project to test out the dynamics of scarcity and demand in an environment that was truly scarce and that couldn’t be changed even by it’s creators.

If you want to join the fun and own some uniquely designed punks, just follow these steps:

  1. Download and install a Chrome browser plugin called MetaMask in order to access your Ethereum account
  2. Buy some Ether
  3. Bid, buy, or sell punks

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